EP0404166B1 - Hinge device having mechanism for stopping movable member at open position - Google Patents

Hinge device having mechanism for stopping movable member at open position Download PDF

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Publication number
EP0404166B1
EP0404166B1 EP19900111798 EP90111798A EP0404166B1 EP 0404166 B1 EP0404166 B1 EP 0404166B1 EP 19900111798 EP19900111798 EP 19900111798 EP 90111798 A EP90111798 A EP 90111798A EP 0404166 B1 EP0404166 B1 EP 0404166B1
Authority
EP
European Patent Office
Prior art keywords
shaft
hinge device
diameter portion
diameter
bracket
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Expired - Lifetime
Application number
EP19900111798
Other languages
German (de)
French (fr)
Other versions
EP0404166A2 (en
EP0404166A3 (en
Inventor
Takaichi C/O Intellectual Property Div. Kobayashi
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Toshiba Corp
Original Assignee
Toshiba Corp
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to JP16222789A priority Critical patent/JP2880729B2/en
Priority to JP162227/89 priority
Application filed by Toshiba Corp filed Critical Toshiba Corp
Publication of EP0404166A2 publication Critical patent/EP0404166A2/en
Publication of EP0404166A3 publication Critical patent/EP0404166A3/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of EP0404166B1 publication Critical patent/EP0404166B1/en
Anticipated expiration legal-status Critical
Expired - Lifetime legal-status Critical Current

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F1/00Details not covered by groups G06F3/00 – G06F13/00 and G06F21/00
    • G06F1/16Constructional details or arrangements
    • G06F1/1613Constructional details or arrangements for portable computers
    • G06F1/1615Constructional details or arrangements for portable computers with several enclosures having relative motions, each enclosure supporting at least one I/O or computing function
    • G06F1/1616Constructional details or arrangements for portable computers with several enclosures having relative motions, each enclosure supporting at least one I/O or computing function with folding flat displays, e.g. laptop computers or notebooks having a clamshell configuration, with body parts pivoting to an open position around an axis parallel to the plane they define in closed position
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F1/00Details not covered by groups G06F3/00 – G06F13/00 and G06F21/00
    • G06F1/16Constructional details or arrangements
    • G06F1/1613Constructional details or arrangements for portable computers
    • G06F1/1633Constructional details or arrangements of portable computers not specific to the type of enclosures covered by groups G06F1/1615 - G06F1/1626
    • G06F1/1675Miscellaneous details related to the relative movement between the different enclosures or enclosure parts which could be adopted independently from the movement typologies specified in G06F1/1615 and subgroups
    • G06F1/1681Details related solely to hinges
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F1/00Details not covered by groups G06F3/00 – G06F13/00 and G06F21/00
    • G06F1/16Constructional details or arrangements
    • G06F1/1613Constructional details or arrangements for portable computers
    • G06F1/1633Constructional details or arrangements of portable computers not specific to the type of enclosures covered by groups G06F1/1615 - G06F1/1626
    • G06F1/1675Miscellaneous details related to the relative movement between the different enclosures or enclosure parts which could be adopted independently from the movement typologies specified in G06F1/1615 and subgroups
    • G06F1/1683Miscellaneous details related to the relative movement between the different enclosures or enclosure parts which could be adopted independently from the movement typologies specified in G06F1/1615 and subgroups for the transmission of signal or power between the different housings, e.g. details of wired or wireless communication, passage of cabling
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16CSHAFTS; FLEXIBLE SHAFTS; ELEMENTS OR CRANKSHAFT MECHANISMS; ROTARY BODIES OTHER THAN GEARING ELEMENTS; BEARINGS
    • F16C11/00Pivots; Pivotal connections
    • F16C11/04Pivotal connections
    • F16C11/10Arrangements for locking
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T16/00Miscellaneous hardware [e.g., bushing, carpet fastener, caster, door closer, panel hanger, attachable or adjunct handle, hinge, window sash balance, etc.]
    • Y10T16/52Hinge
    • Y10T16/54Hinge including means to hold or retard hinged members against pivotal movement [e.g., catch]
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T16/00Miscellaneous hardware [e.g., bushing, carpet fastener, caster, door closer, panel hanger, attachable or adjunct handle, hinge, window sash balance, etc.]
    • Y10T16/52Hinge
    • Y10T16/54Hinge including means to hold or retard hinged members against pivotal movement [e.g., catch]
    • Y10T16/5403Hinge including means to hold or retard hinged members against pivotal movement [e.g., catch] by friction
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T16/00Miscellaneous hardware [e.g., bushing, carpet fastener, caster, door closer, panel hanger, attachable or adjunct handle, hinge, window sash balance, etc.]
    • Y10T16/52Hinge
    • Y10T16/54Hinge including means to hold or retard hinged members against pivotal movement [e.g., catch]
    • Y10T16/5403Hinge including means to hold or retard hinged members against pivotal movement [e.g., catch] by friction
    • Y10T16/54038On hinge pin or between surfaces surrounding hinge axis

Description

  • The present invention relates to a hinge device for use in a portable apparatus such as a lap-top or portable personal computer and more particularly to a hinge device having a mechanism for stopping a movable member of the apparatus at an open position, by virtue of the frictional force exerted by a spring member.
  • U.S. Patent 4,571,456 discloses a portable personal computer which comprises a rectangular case, a keyboard attached to the case, and a display unit hinged to the case by a hinge.
  • Connected by the hinge to the case, the display unit can rotate between a position (hereinafter referred to as "closed position") where it covers the keyboard and a position (hereinafter referred to as "opened position") where it stands upright at the rear of the keyboard. The hinge includes a mechanism which experts a frictional force to stop the display unit at any position between the closed position and the open position.
  • A hinge having such a mechanism and designed to connect a display unit to the case of a personal computer is disclosed in Published Unexamined Japanese Patent Application No. 59-99111. This hinge comprises a shaft and a coil spring wound around the shaft. The shaft is fastened at one end to the display unit and at the other end to the case. As the display unit is rotated upward, the coil spring is wound more and more tightly around the shaft, whereby a frictional force is generated between the shaft and the coil spring. By virtue of this force, the display unit is held up at a position where the user takes his or her hand off the display unit, provided that the hinge shaft and the coil spring have a proper outside diameter and an appropriate inside diameter, respectively, and are set at correct positions. It requires much time and labor to make the shaft and the spring with sufficient precision and to set them in a correct positional relationship. Consequently, the manufacturing cost of the hinge is inevitably high.
  • From FR-A-2 614 077 on which the preamble of claim 1 is based there is known a hinge device having a stepped shaft connected to a first member. A support means of a second member is mounted on the shaft so as to be rotatable relative to the first member. A ring shaped spring means held and compressed between the shaft and the support means presses the support means towards the first member so as to generate a friction force via friction elements disposed between the support means and the first member upon relative rotation of these parts.
  • The object of the present invention is to provide a hinge device whose components need not be machined or positioned with high-precision, and which is therefore easy to manufacture and can, thus, be manufactured at low cost.
  • According to the invention, there is provided a hinge device for rotatably connecting first and second members comprising a shaft for rotatably connecting the first and the second members and ring-shaped spring means, said shaft has a first diameter protion having a first diameter and a second diameter portion having a second diameter smaller than the first diameter; characterized in that a bracket having a first contact surface which is perpendicular to the shaft axis is fixed to the second member; one end of the shaft is unrotatably connected to the first member; the second diameter portion is rotatably connected to the bracket; a flange having a second contact surface which is perpendicular to the shaft axis is disposed about the second diameter portion adjacent the first diameter portion; and said ring-shaped spring means is disposed and compressed between the first and second contact surfaces, for suppressing rotation of the bracket around shaft when the first and second members are rotated relative to each other around the shaft.
  • The ring-shaped spring means can easily be incorporated in the hinge device, when pushed into the gap between the shaft and the support means. Once so incorporated, the ring-shaped spring means can exert a frictional force between the shaft and the support means. Unlike the coil spring used in the conventional hinge described above, the spring means need not be machined or positioned with high precision.
  • This invention can be more fully understood from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
    • Fig. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a personal computer having a hinge device according to the present invention;
    • Fig. 2 is a sectional view schematically showing a hinge device according to a first embodiment of the present invention;
    • Fig. 3 is a sectional view, taken along line III-III in Fig. 2;
    • Fig. 4 is an exploded view illustrating the hinge device shown in Fig. 2;
    • Fig. 5 is a plan view of the hinge device shown in Fig. 2;
    • Fig. 6 is a plan view showing a hinge device according to a second embodiment of the invention; and
    • Fig. 7 is a plan view illustrating a hinge device according to a third embodiment of the invention.
  • Fig. 1 illustrates a lap-top or portable personal computer 1. The computer 1 has a case 2 made of a synthetic resin and is shaped like a thin rectangular box comprising a bottom case 3 which is covered by a top cover 4. A keyboard 5 is attached to the front half of the top cover 4. The rearmost part of the half of the top cover 4 is thicker than the front most part of the rear half. Two recesses 6a and 6b are formed in the front-left and -right portions of the rear half of the top cover 4, respectively. As is shown in Fig. 7, a printed circuit board 7, on which are mounted a number of circuit parts (not shown), is incorporated in the case 2.
  • As is illustrated in Fig. 1, the computer 1 further comprises a flat-panel type display unit 8 located at the rear of the keyboard 5. The display unit 8 comprises a rectangular housing 9 and a flat liquid-crystal display 11 located within the housing 9. The housing 9 is composed of a base panel 10a and a front panel 10b, both shaped like a rectangular plate. These panels 10a and 10b are fastened together, by means of screws (not shown) at their four corners. The liquid-crystal display 11, which has a screen 12, is inter posed between the panels 10a and 10b. The screen 12 is exposed through the rectangular opening 13 made in the front panel 10b.
  • As is evident from Fig. 1, the display unit 8 is attached to the case 2 such that it rotate between a position (hereinafter referred to as "closed position") where it covers the keyboard 6 and a position (herein after referred to as "opened position") where it stands upright at the rear of the keyboard 5. The display unit 8 covers the entire keyboard 5 when it is rotated to the closed position. As long as the unit 8 remains in the closed position, its top is at the same level as the upper surface of the top cover 4, and its left and right sides are level with those of the top cover 4. In this condition, the case 2 and the display unit 8 form a relatively thin box, which is quite portable.
  • As is shown in Figs. 1 and 2, a pair of leg sections 15a and 15b protrude from the lower-left and lower-right portions of the housing 9, with their lower ends located in the recesses 6a and 6b of the case 2. The leg section 15b will henceforth be described in detail.
  • As is illustrated in Figs. 2 and 3, the leg section 15b of the housing 9 is composed of a rear leg segment 60 formed so as to be integral with the base panel 10a and a front leg segment 61 formed so as to be integral with the front panel lub, and is similar to the leg section 15a in structure. The leg section 15b extends horizontally longer than the leg section 15a, and contains a pair of hinge mechanisms 62, which support the housing 9 such that it can be rotated upward from the other case 2 and downward thereto.
  • The first and second hinge mechanisms are located in the inner and outer ends of the leg section 15b, respectively. The hinge mechanism 62 is designed not only to support the housing 9, but also to hold it at any position between the closed position and the opened position. The hinge mechanisms 62 are identical in structure, and only one of them will, therefore, be described in detail with reference to Fig. 5.
  • As is illustrated in Fig. 5, either hinge mechanism 62 has a straight shaft 63 and a bracket 64 made of metal and supporting the shaft 63. The bracket 64 comprises a pair of support pieces 65a and 65b spaced apart in the axial direction of the shaft 63, and a fixing section 66 connecting these pieces 65a and 65b. The support pieces 65a and 65b each have a hole 67, and are so positioned that the holes 67 are coaxial. The ends of the shaft 63 are rotatably supported in these holes 67.
  • The left end of shaft 63 has a screw hole, and a screw 72 is inserted in this hole, with a plain washer 70 and a spring washer 71 interposed between it and the left end of the shaft 63. The plain washer 70, the spring washer 71, and the head 72a of the screw 72 have diameters larger than those of holes 67. Hence, the plain washer 70 abuts on the outer side of support piece 65a, whereby the washers 70 and 71 and the screw 72 prevent the shaft 63 from slipping from the hinge mechanism 62.
  • The shaft 63 consists of three portions, i.e., a thick portion 73a and two thin portions 73b extending from the ends of the portion 73a. The first thin portion 73b is inserted in the hole 67 of the support pieces 65b, and the second thin portion 73b is inserted in the hole 67 of the support piece 65a. A plain washer 75 having an outside diameter larger than the diameter of the thick portion 73a is mounted on the thin portion 73b and abuts the right end 74 of the thick portion 73a. Two wave washers 77 having an outside diameter substantially the same as the diameter of the thick portion 73a are mounted on the thin portion 73b and compressed between the plain washer 75 and the support piece 65a of the bracket 64. The two wave washers 77, which function as springs, abut on the plain washer 75 and the support piece 65a, respectively. A friction force is thereby generated between the plain washer 75 and the bracket 64, restricting the rotation of the shaft 63 which is supported by the bracket 64.
  • In this embodiment, two wave washers 77 are used to restrict the rotation of the shaft 63. Alternatively, one wave washer, or three or more wave washers may be used for the same purpose in the present invention.
  • As is shown in Fig. 2, two pairs of bosses 80 protrude from the inner surface of the rear leg segment 60. The fixing sections 66 of the first and second hinge mechanisms 62 are fastened to the first and second pairs of bosses 80, respectively, by means of screws 81, whereby both hinge mechanisms 62 are coupled to the housing 9. As is shown in Fig. 3, one of the screws 81 which fasten either fixing section 66 to the bosses 80 passes through the hole cut in the front leg segment 61, and thus fastens the front leg segment 61 to the rear leg segment 60. A decoration cover 82 is removably connected to the front leg segment 61, thus concealing the heads 81a of the screws 81.
  • As is illustrated in Fig. 2, one of the thin portions 73b of either shaft 63 extends into case 2 through the hole 85 made in the side wall of case 2. That end 86 of the portion 73b which is located within the case 2 has a polygonal cross section. The end 86 of the thin portion 73b is fitted in the corresponding hole 88 made in the support 87 which protrudes downward from the top wall of case 2. Thus, the shaft 63 of the hinge mechanism 62 cannot rotate.
  • The display unit 8 has its leg section 15a connected to the case 2 by means of a shaft held in a hole and has its leg section 15b connected to the case 2 by means of the hinge mechanisms 62 as is shown in Figs. 2 and 3. The unit 8 is thus rotatably supported on the case 2.
  • It will now be explained how either hinge mechanisms 62 operate to hold the display unit 8 at any desired position between the closed position and the opened position.
  • When the display unit 8 is rotated from the closed position toward the opened position, the bracket 64 of the mechanism 62, which is fastened to the base panel 10a, rotates around the shaft 63, allowing the unit 8 to rotated to any position between the closed position and the opened position, so that the user of the personal computer can see clearly the data displayed on the liquid-crystal display screen 12.
  • Since the wave washers 77 are interposed and compressed between the plain washer 75 mounted on the shaft 63 and the support piece 65a of the bracket 64, a frictional force is generated between the bracket 64 and the plain washer 75. This force suppresses the rotation of the bracket 64, whereby the display unit 8 remains at the position where the user takes his or her hand off the display unit 8.
  • The two wave washers 77 can easily be incorporated in the hinge mechanism 62, when pushed into the gap between the support piece 65a and the plain washer 75. Once so incorporated, the washers 77 can exert a frictional force between the shaft 63 and the bracket 64. Unlike the coil spring used in the conventional hinge described above, the wave washers 77 need not be machined with high precision, or positioned in the hinge mechanism 62 with high precision. Therefore, the hinge mechanism 62 can be manufactured at lower cost than the conventional hinge.
  • Further, since the total thickness of the two wave washers 77 is far less than the length of the coil spring wound around the hinge shaft in the conventional hinge, the hinge mechanism 62 is much shorter than the conventional hinge.
  • Fig. 6 illustrates a hinge mechanism according to a second embodiment of the invention. This mechanism is different from the first embodiment (Fig. 5), in that a flange 91 is formed integral with the shaft 63, located between the thick portion 73a and the thin portion 73b, and has a larger diameter than the thick portion 73a. Two wave washers 77 are mounted on the thin portion 73b and compressed between the flange 91 and the support piece 65a of the bracket 64.
  • Fig. 7 shows a hinge mechanism according to a third embodiment of the invention, which is identical to the first embodiment (Fig. 5), except that a bellevill spring 100 is used in place of wave washers.
  • The hinge device according to the invention can be used, not only in personal computer, but also in word processors, reclining seats, and the like.

Claims (10)

  1. A hinge device for rotatably connecting first and second members (2, 8) comprising a shaft for rotatably connecting the first and the second members (2, 8) and ring-shaped spring means (77, 100), said shaft (63) has a first diameter portion (73a) having a first diameter and a second diameter portion (73b) having a second diameter smaller than the first diameter;
    characterized in that
    a bracket (64) having a first contact surface which is perpendicular to the shaft axis is fixed to the second member (8);
    one end of the shaft (63) is unrotatably connected to the first member (2);
    the second diameter portion (73b) is rotatably connected to the bracket (64);
    a flange (75, 91) having a second contact surface which is perpendicular to the shaft axis is disposed about the second diameter portion adjacent the first diameter portion; and
    said ring-shaped spring means (77, 100) is disposed and compressed between the first and second contact surfaces, for suppressing rotation of the bracket (64) around shaft (63) when the first and second members (2, 8) are rotated relative to each other around the shaft (63).
  2. The hinge device according to claim 1, characterized in that said ring-shaped spring means (77,100) comprises at least one wave washer (77).
  3. The hinge device according to claim 1, characterized in that said ring-shaped spring means (77,100) is a belleville spring (100).
  4. The hinge device according to claim 1, characterized in that said ring-shaped spring means (77,100) comprises a plurality of wave washers (77) stacked, one upon another, in the axial direction of said shaft (63).
  5. The hinge device according to claim 1, characterized in that said flange (91) is conjoined with the shaft (63).
  6. The hinge device according to claim 1, characterized in that said bracket (64) having a surface opposite to the first contact surface, and said second diameter portion (73b) further comprises an end portion, the end portion having a slipping prevention means (70, 71, 72) whose diameter is greater than the second diameter of the second diameter portion (73b), the slipping prevention means (70, 71, 72) being in contact with the surface of the bracket (64), thereby preventing the bracket (64) from moving in an axial direction of the shaft (63).
  7. The hinge device according to claim 1, characterized in that said flange (75) is removably attached to the second diameter portion (73b).
  8. The hinge device according to claim 1, characterized in that said first diameter portion (73a) cooperating with the second diameter portion (73b) to form a step portion (74), the step portion (74) having a third contact surface.
  9. The hinge device according to claim 8, characterized in that said flange (75,91) comprises a fourth contact surface disposed opposite to the second contact surface and contacting the third contact surface.
  10. A hinge device for use in a personal computer comprising a case (2) and an image-displaying unit (8), said hinge device having a shaft (63) for rotatably connecting the case (2) and the image-displaying unit (8) and comprising:
       a first bracket (64) fixed to the image-displaying unit (8) and having a first contact surface which is perpendicular to the shaft axis;
       a second bracket (87) fixed to the case (2) and having a shaft fixing portion (88);
       the shaft (63) having a first diameter portion (73a) having a first diameter, a second diameter portion (73b) having a second diameter smaller than the first diameter, one end of the shaft (63) being unrotatably connected to the shaft fixing portion (88), the second diameter portion (73b) being rotatably connected to the first bracket (64);
       a flange (75, 91) having a second contact surface which is perpendicular to the shaft axis, the flange (75, 91) being disposed about the second diameter portion (73b) adjacent to the first diameter portion (73a); and
       ring-shaped spring means (77, 100), disposed and compressed between the first and second surfaces, for generating a friction between the shaft (63) and the first bracket (64) when the case (2) and the image-displaying unit (8) are rotated relative to each other around the shaft (63).
EP19900111798 1989-06-23 1990-06-21 Hinge device having mechanism for stopping movable member at open position Expired - Lifetime EP0404166B1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
JP16222789A JP2880729B2 (en) 1989-06-23 1989-06-23 Small electronic equipment
JP162227/89 1989-06-23

Publications (3)

Publication Number Publication Date
EP0404166A2 EP0404166A2 (en) 1990-12-27
EP0404166A3 EP0404166A3 (en) 1991-12-11
EP0404166B1 true EP0404166B1 (en) 1995-09-27

Family

ID=15750389

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
EP19900111798 Expired - Lifetime EP0404166B1 (en) 1989-06-23 1990-06-21 Hinge device having mechanism for stopping movable member at open position

Country Status (5)

Country Link
US (2) US5081742A (en)
EP (1) EP0404166B1 (en)
JP (1) JP2880729B2 (en)
KR (1) KR930007436B1 (en)
DE (1) DE69022636T2 (en)

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Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
EP0404166A2 (en) 1990-12-27
JP2880729B2 (en) 1999-04-12
KR910001206A (en) 1991-01-30
US5473794A (en) 1995-12-12
JPH0328481A (en) 1991-02-06
EP0404166A3 (en) 1991-12-11
KR930007436B1 (en) 1993-08-10
US5081742A (en) 1992-01-21
DE69022636T2 (en) 1996-03-21
DE69022636D1 (en) 1995-11-02

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